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Parel (66) leads Senior Players by one

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2018, 11:41 pm

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Scott Parel walked off the course thinking somebody would overtake him. Instead, he's halfway to his first PGA Tour Champions victory - and it happens to be a major.

Parel grabbed a one-stroke lead in the Constellation Senior Players Championship, shooting a 6-under 66 in Friday's second round to reach 11 under.

The 53-year-old Parel made seven birdies after starting the day two shots off the lead.

''I've been playing good golf, right there in contention a lot of times,'' he said. ''And that helps. The more you're up there, the more comfortable you are. If you do it once every few weeks, then maybe you get a little bit uncomfortable. But I feel good right now.''

Parel remained in the lead when Jeff Maggert three-putted from about 15 feet to bogey the par-4 18th. That left Maggert (68) tied with Brandt Jobe (67) at 10 under in the fourth of five majors on the tour's schedule.

Three-time champion Bernhard Langer (67), defending champion Scott McCarron (68), Kenny Perry (70) and Vijay Singh (67) were in a pack two strokes off the lead. Illinois coach Mike Small shot 71 and was three shots back.

This is just the second time Parel has led after a round in a PGA Tour Champions event. He shared the first-round lead at the 2017 Chubb Classic before finishing tied for 10th.

Parel did not play in college at Georgia, and worked in computers for 10 years before turning pro. He missed the cut in four of his five career PGA Tour starts. On the over-50 tour, he has 13 top-10 finishes in 52 starts. That includes ties for second at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic near Atlanta in April and Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa, last month.

Parel pulled ahead even though he was a bit off target with his driver. He finished with a birdie on 18.


Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


''I think if the conditions stay the same, you're going to have to shoot the same kind of scores that I've shot the last two days to have a chance to win,'' he said. ''The course is in perfect shape. The greens are perfect, makeable speed and smooth. So guys are going to make a lot of birdies out here.''

Maggert holed out from a greenside bunker to birdie the par-5 15th and reach 11 under. But he finished the round on a sour note, with that bogey on 18 after he gave himself a chance to birdie the hole.

''Trying to leave it below the hole there is a premium, and I just got a little too far above, and the putt trickled by a little bit,'' he said. ''The greens were a little bouncier and choppier this afternoon late in the day with all the traffic from the morning rounds. Anyway, putting feels pretty good, so I'm not worried about it.''

McCarron bogeyed three holes, including the 18th. In the Senior Players at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year, he overcame a six-shot deficit to beat Langer and Jobe by a stroke.

McCarron is facing surgery at the end of the season to repair a tendon running through his right ankle. It's been bothering him for about a year and a half, though he said it hasn't impacted his game.

He came into this event with seven top-10 finishes on the season and a victory last month at the American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, Wisconsin. McCarron then tied for 52nd at the U.S. Senior Open in Colorado Springs.

''I'm playing decent,'' McCarron said. ''Just made a few too many mistakes today, especially the last hole. But I'm hitting a lot of good shots, and I'm putting pretty well. I like this golf course, so I'm certainly in the mix going into the weekend, which is where you've got to be. I mean, you can't go out and win the tournament the first two days, but I've certainly put myself in a good position.''

The 52-year-old Small has never won on the PGA Tour Champions. He is not a tour member and made the field because he performed well over three events where he received sponsors' exemptions. He began the day tied with Perry for the lead and remains in contention.

''I'm happy,'' he said. ''I had more hard putts today. Yesterday, I hit it in spots where you can make putts, and these greens are very difficult from that point of view. If you hit it in the correct spots, you can make putts here all day long. But if you just get a foot or two on the other side of that, they're hard to read and they're fast and you're playing defensively.''

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Tiger Tracker: 42nd Ryder Cup

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 25, 2018, 1:15 pm

Fresh off his 80th PGA Tour victory at the Tour Championship, Tiger Woods is competing in his first Ryder Cup since 2012. We're tracking him.


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Euros wearing yellow ribbons to honor slain golfer

By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 12:51 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – European Ryder Cup team members will wear yellow ribbons this week to honor Celia Barquin Arozamena, who was murdered last week while playing golf.

Arozamena went to school at Iowa State, but she was a native of Spain and won the European Amateur Championship in July. She was attacked and killed Sept. 17 while playing a round by herself at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa.

European captain Thomas Bjorn wore one of the ribbons while addressing media Tuesday at Le Golf National, and he explained that the decision to honor Arozamena came out of a discussion between Ryder Cup Europe and her mother.


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“The golfing family extends beyond what we are trying to do this week,” Bjorn said. “It’s nothing about us, but it’s just more about that the golfing family gets touched by these things all over the world. It’s terrible when things like this happen.”

Arozamena considered Ryder Cup stalwart and fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia one of her idols growing up, and the two met when she was a child. Garcia sent condolences out via social media last week, saying he was “heartbroken” over her death.

“Such a great prospect for the game of golf she was, but also a wonderful person,” Bjorn said. “When you speak to Sergio and [Spaniard] Jon [Rahm] about it, they couldn’t talk highly enough about her. We felt like that was appropriate for the week.”

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Spieth, Reed in different groups during Tuesday practice

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 12:38 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tuesday’s U.S. groupings at the Ryder Cup may give a glimpse into what potential pairings we will see this week at Le Golf National.

In the day’s first foursome, Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed played together. The second group included Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas; and the anchor group was Bubba Watson, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson.

Whether those groups will make up captain Jim Furyk’s version of the team’s pods, however, remains to be seen. Given that half of his team has never played Le Golf National, Furyk said he tried to match players on Tuesday with those who had some experience on the course.


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“Today is really about trying to learn the golf course and hit some solid golf shots,” Furyk said. “There may be some pairings out there and there's some groups there isn't. Just want them concentrating on their own game right now. They are very aware of who they will be playing with this week and they are very aware of some of the options they have.”

Given the success of previous pairings and some relatively obvious choices, it seems there are some likely options for the U.S. Woods and DeChambeau have become regular practice-round partners and at the Tour Championship they experimented with the other player’s golf balls on Tuesday.

It also seems likely that Spieth-Thomas and Fowler-Johnson will be paired in some form this week.

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Le Golf National nothing like wide open Hazeltine

By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 12:00 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The layout at Le Golf National has a distinctly European feel, and captain Thomas Bjorn hopes to keep it that way at the Ryder Cup.

Gone are the wide fairways and short rough of Hazeltine, where the Americans bombed and gouged their way to their first team victory in nearly a decade. This week players will encounter one of the tightest and most demanding tracks on the European Tour, where water lurks around nearly every corner.

“Well this is a tough golf course, to start with,” Bjorn said Tuesday. “I like the idea of a golf course that’s set up like a championship golf course. You’ve got to identify guys that are hitting the golf ball well. Identify guys that are playing good golf that week.”


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Unlike the other recent Ryder Cup host venues on this side of the Atlantic, Le Golf National is somewhat of a known entity in that it annually hosts the European Tour’s French Open. It’s a tournament that Ryder Cup rookies Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren have won each of the last two years, while teammates Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia both cracked the top 10 in June.

That should give the Europeans an advantage when it comes to familiarity, and Bjorn’s plans for course setup included a desire to ensure the experience factor for his players would still be relevant this week amid larger-than-normal grandstands.

“There’s guys on this team that have played a lot of French Opens. I don’t want them to show up and it’s a completely different golf course to what they are used to,” Bjorn said. “This is very similar to what it is normally.”

Despite the similarities in setup, there will still be plenty of adjustments for the American squad. Justin Thomas was the only U.S. player to make the trek for this year’s French Open, and captain Jim Furyk admitted that only six of his 12 players had seen the course at all prior to this week.

“We’re just trying to figure it out,” Furyk said. “Europe knows this golf course well. They have played the French Open here. We’re trying to figure out the setup and what they have in store for the week.”